First Class Fishing - Float Fishing Part 5

Dave Cooper
FIRST CLASS FISHING 'First Class Fishing', a series of classes for beginners and improvers conducted by Dave Cooper, an all-round experienced angler with a string of good fish and good catches to his credit. The classes are aimed at those who have recently discovered the joys of fishing and need guidance on using tackle correctly and wish to improve their basic skills. Dave will cover a specific topic at a time in this bi-weekly column. The first section will be really basic with subsequent ones building on the skills covered previously. His aim is to explain things as simply and concisely as possible and will assume that the reader knows absolutely nothing about the subject.

20/08/2002 13:26:00

FLOAT FISHING Part Five - Waggler Fishing on Rivers - The Set Up In parts 1 to 4 we looked at how to fish the waggler on stillwaters. Now in part 5 I shall move on to fishing the waggler on rivers, looking at the tackle required, the floats and when to use them, plus general shotting patterns. Additional factor Waggler fishing is slightly more complicated on rivers than on stillwaters because, in addition to wind direction, depth and distance, an additional factor has to be taken into account which is that the water itself is moving. You have to contend with a current. Where we were largely concentrating on how to keep a bait static with stillwater fishing, on rivers we will be attempting to make our hook bait mimic a food item being carried down on the current and this requires a different set up and technique. But more of set ups later. Let's first look at any additional tackle requirements that we need over and above those we used for stillwater fishing. Tackle Well, the good news here is that you don't necessarily have to change anything major. You can still use the same float rod of around 13 feet coupled to the small fixed spool reel, although a longer rod can be beneficial, making float control that much easier. The only change that you might like to consider is in investing in a 'closed face' reel. A closed face reel is much less prone to tangling when 'trotting' a float, which effectively is allowing the line to peel freely off the reel as the float moves downstream. A fixed spool has the line coming off in much looser coils which, especially in windy conditions, can tangle around the bale-arm if you are not careful. Fixed spools are also a little more difficult to strike into a bite with as the bale-arm is awkward to close in a hurry, whereas a closed face reel re-engages at the touch of the handle. After saying all that, the closed face reel is not so popular these days despite its efficiency and the fixed spool, being more than good enough, is used by the majority of anglers. River waggler fishing is often done from a standing position rather than a seated one, so to keep your bait to hand you should invest in a bait waiter or a bait apron. A bait waiter is a bait box holder that screws onto a bank stick. It holds three or four standard bait boxes at waist height so you don't have to keep bending to the ground to get your loose feed. A bait apron is specially designed for float fishing from a standing position as it has a large pouch that you keep your maggots and catapult in for easy access to your maggots for feeding, plus a couple of additional pockets in which to keep spare hook links, shot and disgorgers. Both are available cheaply from your local tackle shop and either will make your river waggler session so much easier and enjoyable. The last item you will require is a large plummet that will help you gauge the depth. When During the warmer months of the year, especially, the river waggler comes into its own. Many anglers these days turn up at the river and almost automatically reach for a feeder rod. Why? Well usually because it's easier than float fishing. But generally river fish such as roach, chub, dace, perch, etc, are far easier to catch on a properly fished float rig than on a feeder rig as they tend to respond better to a moving bait than a static one. I tend to fish the feeder only for very specific reasons or when it's physically impossible to fish a float. River Wagglers The float that we predominantly looked at in the stillwater sections was the bodied waggler, with the straight waggler being used only in specific situations. For river fishing this principle is reversed. The straight waggler is king on the river with very few exceptions. Your waggler collection for rivers will, like your stillwater varieties, grow over time until you have floats for all occasions, taking weights up to 4 SSG's if you end up tackling the big rivers like the Severn, Wye and Trent. But for average river waggler fishing you need only a selection in the 2AAA to 4AAA range, both with and without insert tips. The floats should be made of peacock quill which is very buoyant and rides flowing water particularly well.

Three insert wagglers and a plain waggler

6g of shot.2g. The No. Where the river is flowing with a slow to moderate pace you should use an insert tip as it will still be able to show clearly when a fish has intercepted the bait 'on the drop' (as the bait sinks through the water). If you find that you have chosen on the light side and are struggling to cope with any of the variables described. SHOT SIZE/WEIGHT TABLE Shot size AAA BB No. lets look at a few scenarios Scenario 1 Our first river is slow moving. Scenario 2 For our second scenario we are on the same river but a stiff breeze in our face is making casting a little difficult. . In this case I would leave the dropper shot the same and step up to a 3AAA waggler. to be set immediately below the float. See the table below. particularly if the wind is blowing downstream. The float must be heavy enough to be cast the required distance easily and you should err slightly on the heavy side rather than end up fishing too light. a minimum of 75%. Use 1 x AAA. Also with a faster current you are going to need more dropper shot down the line. must be bulked at the base of the float.8 and 1 x No10. The 3AAA insert waggler is probably the tool for the job. a 3AAA 2.1 No. but the current is still only gentle giving the fish plenty of time to eyeball the bait. But as you encounter stronger and stronger flows the less beneficial an insert tip becomes and additional buoyancy is the main requirement.8g 0.04g From this table you can work out that a 2AAA Waggler requires a total of 1.10 Weight 0. Always remember that at least 75% of the shot. If your float is too light and drags across the current the bait will behave unnaturally and will probably be ignored by the fish. Therefore we still need a float that will be sensitive enough to register shy or 'on the drop' bites. Scenario 3 Next we have a river where the current is flowing slightly faster.06g 0. The fish won't mind and you will find your fishing is easier and far more fun. with 3 x No6. almost still.8 No.4 No. The shotting pattern for a river waggler still requires the bulk of the shot.1g 0. From these you can work out slightly different options to cope with your particular river.4g 0. the longer and heavier a float you will need to combat its ability to pull the float across the current. locked with 2 x AAA's and 1 x BB. preferably more.3g 0. There is little wind and we shall only be casting a couple of rod's length out.4g and a 4AAA 3.4 as the bulk shot and evenly space 3 x No. adding an additional AAA shot to the bulk. Is the current slow enough to use an insert tip? How much shot will I need down the line? How far do I need to cast? Is the wind going to be a factor? By reasoning through these questions you will be able to pick the right float for the day. It seems useful here to give you the exact weights in grams of each particular shot size so you can work out the dropper patterns given the overall shotting requirement of the float.2g 0. So. Shotting patterns Let me show you some shotting patterns to cover a reasonable spectrum of river situations that will give you the basic idea of how to shot a river waggler. So. say around 5 feet. so a thick tipped waggler should be selected.10 down the line as droppers. For this scenario I would choose a 2AAA insert straight waggler and shot it as follows.8 and 1 x No. 1 x BB and 1 x No.6 No.Choice Three things determine which type and size of waggler should be used: Strength of the flow Strength of the wind Distance required to cast The strength of the flow pretty much determines which type of tip to use.10 should be around 15 inches from the hook. 1 x No. don't hesitate to change to a heavier float. The stronger the wind. Distance is much the same as with stillwater fishing. evenly spaced as droppers. of moderate depth. so we maybe want to get the bait down in the water a little quicker. Wind strength influences the size choice due to the drag effect. when choosing your waggler ask yourself these four questions. This set up will fall slowly through the water and clearly show 'on the drop' bites. This will become clearer as I explain shotting patterns below. so to maintain the bulk to dropper ratio where additional shot is required down the line you have to use a larger float. Again the bottom dropper should be around 15 inches from the hook.

which takes 1. but with the 2AAA and 3AAA wagglers. plus the shot weights in the table above.6 grams of shot in total. But just to demonstrate what I mean about maintaining the 3:1 bulk to dropper ratio.8 and 1 x 10 evenly spaced as droppers.64 grams left for the bulk.Legering First Class Fishing First Class Fishing First Class Fishing First Class Fishing First Class Fishing All articles by the same Author . Scenario 5 The last scenario involves a reasonably fast current that will be peeling line off the reel at a steady pace. The priority again is to get the bait down in the water quickly to be fishing at optimum depth as soon as possible.8 droppers.Legering First Class Fishing Part 5 . As long as only the answer or less is down the line as droppers you're OK. The bait needs to be fishing at optimum depth pretty quickly after casting. In Part 6 of Float Fishing I will be showing you how cast and control the river waggler and how to feed successfully. If the wind got up or I needed to cast further I wouldn't hesitate to step up to a 4AAA waggler. That sounds really technical and complicated. these floats are obviously too small for the dropper pattern. Bearing in mind our minimum bulk requirement is 75%. let's do some calculations on the dropper pattern of scenario 5 above. which is only 57% of the total capacity of the float. maybe fishing down the middle of a fair sized river. Here I would be reaching for a 4AAA thick tipped waggler and locking it with a 3 x AAA bulk.Float Fishing Part 2 First Class Fishing Make Your Own Floats . The information is then always to hand when you need it. or around 68% of the total shot required. Then down the line I would be evenly spacing 3 x No4.Part 2 Commercials Part 12 . adding the extra AAA shot to the bulk.Waggler Fishing By the Same Author First Class Fishing First Class Fishing Part 6 . If you were to shot a 2AAA waggler. hopefully I have helped you to understand waggler choice and set up for the most encountered river scenarios. with these droppers you would only have 0. With the 3AAA waggler you have 1. so a bit more weight is required down the line.44 grams or 76% of the shot as bulk. They can be almost infinitely variable so to a degree you can only learn from experience. Okay. which means they should grab the bait quite confidently and immediately register a positive bite. but hopefully you now have a sound basis to help you get the set up right.Scenario 4 Now we are on a river where there is more pace to the flow. If you were to use the smaller floats you would find them difficult to cast and prone to tangling more than the correctly balanced set up.Legering First Class Fishing Part 4 .6 and 1 x No.1 as bulk shot.10 bottom dropper should be about 12 inches from the hook. or 3:1 ratio.Legering First Class Fishing Part 3 . Maintain the 3:1 ratio Oh no . as it will have 2. which is only a 2:1 bulk to dropper ratio.84 grams left for the bulk. The 4AAA float is the correct choice. Hopefully these scenarios demonstrate the logic required to deal with the varying factors when tackling rivers with a waggler set up. See you then. but basically all you need to do is learn (or write down) the gram equivalents of the floats and divide by 4.Maths! This is supposed to be fun! Don't worry if this next bit sounds a bit complicated. In these circumstances I think I would reach for a 3AAA thick-tipped waggler and add 2 x AAA and 1 x No. so sensitivity is not so important. or not much more than a 1:1 bulk to dropper ratio. on to a sticky label and stick it to the inside lid of your seat box. Related Articles First Class Fishing . with 4 x No. The total weight of the droppers is 0. it's not really when you get your head round it.Advanced Float Fishing Trotting Part Three . Obviously these scenarios are only rule of thumb and you have to deal with conditions as you find them. 1 x No. 1 x No.76 grams (add up the weights of the dropper shot). Fish won't have too much time to inspect a bait before it is going to be past them. The No. You may find it useful to write the total shot requirements of the wagglers.6.

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